Development Moratorium (January 2018 to Current)

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On March 24, 2020 the City Council approved Ordinance 2020-09 to extend the development moratorium "as is" for an additional six month through October 3, 2020. Find a property’s zoning district through the City GIS Map. A summary of what is prohibited by the development moratorium is provided here.

On September 24, 2019 the City Council approved Ordinance 2019-26, which extended the development moratorium as is through December 3, 2019. On December 4, the development moratorium was narrowed, but in effect until April 3, 2020. The development moratorium after December 3, 2019 is described below. 

Development Activity PROHIBITED During the Narrowed Moratorium (December 4, 2019 - October 3, 2020)

Subject to the exclusions below, the moratorium shall apply to Major Site Plan and Design Review and Major Conditional Use Permit proposals that are for development within the Winslow Master Plan Study Area and did not, before the effective date of the moratorium, have a pre-application conference on the Planning Department’s calendar.

Exhibit B Winslow Master Plan Study Area Map Opens in new window

EXCEPTIONS to the Above Development Activities Prohibited During the Narrowed Moratorium:


  • The moratorium shall not apply in the Mixed-Use Town Center/Central Core Overlay District. (dark red zone on map)
  • The moratorium shall not apply to development proposals that include 10% or more of total residential units designated as affordable housing. “Affordable housing” means affordable housing as governed by Chapters 18.21 and 18.12 of the Bainbridge Island Municipal Code (“BIMC”), as well as BIMC 18.36.030.
  • The moratorium shall not apply to subdivisions.
  • The moratorium shall not apply to permits and approvals for affordable housing projects that qualify as Housing Design Demonstration Project (HDDP) Tier 3 projects pursuant to BIMC 2.16.020.S. and Table 2.16.020.S-1.
  • The moratorium shall not apply to permits and approvals for government facilities and structures; educational facilities and preschools; wireless communication facilities; and emergency medical and disaster relief facilities.

Moratorium Work Plan Topics

  • Subdivision Standards:  Revise the subdivision standards to result in residential development that reflects Comprehensive Plan goals and policies included in the land use, housing, and environmental elements. The City Council held a public hearing on and approved updated subdivision standards on September 24, 2019.

  • Design Guidelines:  Update and improve the design guidelines and review process to result in higher quality development that reflects the Island’s values and character.The City Council held a public hearing on and approved updated design guidelines on September 24, 2019.

  • Conditional Use/Site Plan Decision Criteria:  Revise criteria to reduce subjectivity in decision-making and better ensure outcomes consistent with the Comprehensive Plan. The City Council approved Ordinance 2019-24 on December 10, 2019.

  • Affordable Housing:  Develop an affordable housing work program in response to Inclusionary Zoning/Transfer of Development Rights and Affordable Housing Task Force reports. The City Council last discussed these affordable housing programs. on February 4, 2020 and are scheduled to discuss again later in spring 2020.

The City Council is provided periodic moratorium update status reports, to review the most recent click here.

Background Information

On January 9, 2018, the City Council passed Ordinance No. 2018-02, declaring a temporary six-month moratorium on the acceptance of certain development applications, with specified exclusions (“moratorium”). The moratorium was subsequently amended largely for greater clarity and specificity, and to reduce the number of development applications included. 

The moratorium was set to expire on July 9, 2018.  On June 26, 2018, the Council adopted Ordinance No. 2018-23  and extended the moratorium 90 days to allow City staff, the Design Review Board, Planning Commission and Affordable Housing Task Force to complete ongoing work.  The Council adopted Ordinance 2018-41 on September 25, 2018 which extended the moratorium an additional 180 days (April 8, 2019) to allow for continued progress. An additional amendment was adopted by the Council on November 13, 2018 in Ordinance 2018-43. The City Council approved a six-month extension of the development moratorium (Ordinance 2019-10, effective date April 3, 2019) at the March 26, 2019 business meeting that extended the development moratorium until 10/03/19. 

Key concerns expressed by the Council in adopting the moratorium were the Council’s consideration of the Critical Areas Ordinance (CAO) update, the urgent need to address affordable housing issues, and analyze design review standards and guidelines and long subdivision review process. Given the significance of the update to those regulations, the Council expressed a need for a temporary “timeout” to allow for additional public outreach in determining how best to protect the Island’s unique environment.

Comments & Questions

Public participation is invited throughout the Moratorium process. Check this page for updated information, timelines, draft documents and meeting notices. You may also join an email listserv to receive timely project notifications:


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Additional Information

For more information on how the moratorium may impact your project, stop by the Planning and Community Development Counter at City Hall, call 206-780-3750 or send an email.